St. Paul's Centre for Ministry + Community Service

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Nanaimo, BC
12,000 sf
Completed 2016

St. Paul’s parish was looking to address accessibility and space limitation issues, as well as provide additional space for community outreach. The demolition of the old hall and the building of the new addition were complicated by a very constrained site and difficult site conditions where a full storey of the new addition needed to be excavated directly adjacent the existing church that was still being occupied. Careful consideration and implementation of shoring and underpinning techniques were successful in providing a solid foundation for the existing and new structures.

Accessibility was dramatically improved by centralizing vertical circulation with a new exit stair and elevator. A woefully inadequate administration area was increased in area to not only provide more office space, but a proper waiting area, reception, library and staff break areas. As the building was already utilized by outside community groups over 50% of the time with requests for even more space, the parish wished to increase this allocation. New space was allocated for three new community meeting rooms. To serve the needs of all users of the facilities, washrooms were provided to current code standards and a large commercial kitchen serving the main hall was also provided. Building area was increased from 8,700 sf to 14,375 sf, all within the same building footprint and with little increase in building height.

The new addition derives its design inspiration from the existing roof material patterning, tall narrow windows, and interior wood ceilings of the church to create a contemporary and complementary design. The proportion of the existing steep roof church to wall area was transposed by wrapping the shallower roof material of the addition down over the wall area forming a distinctive base between upper and lower levels. Tall windows are squared off in the addition to reflect the more secular nature of the meeting spaces as opposed to the trefoil tops of the windows in the church sanctuary. The shallow wood ceilings throughout the upper level meeting spaces match the ceiling slope in the sanctuary, connecting occupants volumetrically to both sets of spaces. The wood ceiling wraps down the exterior wall at the north meeting room while extending out past the fully glazed exterior wall to provide visual continuity and a warm, inviting and protected entry.

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All photos by Concept Photography Except Aerial by CPA.

All photos by Concept Photography Except Aerial by CPA.


2017 Vancouver Island Real Estate Board – Judge's Choice Award – Best Overall Project
2017 Vancouver Island Real Estate Board – Award of Excellence – Institutional Renovation